Friday, November 22, 2013

Wherever the Wind Blows

With a hitch …that’s how things went over the weekend.  I know, that’s not how the saying goes. 
However, there were a few waves in the water that got us pretty wet and tried our faith.   Let's say it wasn't "paradise" and we didn't embrace the entire journey we were on throughout the week.
In a perfect world things would always happen without a hitch or a glitch in them, but we don’t live in that world do we (at least not yet).

Split Second Decision

Do you remember in my last post how I was “fretting” over the music for an upcoming event?  Well, by the time Sunday came I was feeling confident about all the plans we made and that we were good to go.

We arrived at a church where we were supposed to minister, in plenty of time before the service.  My husband was going about doing the things he needed to get ready for what he had to do, and I was checking things out with the sound system person.

I handed my split track CD to the lady in charge and requested a quick run through for sound.  As I stood on the platform waiting for my cue in the song, nothing happened.  The only thing coming out of the speakers was the background singers, and no music. 

Trying to convey to her that this isn’t right was difficult, because she had never seen a CD like this.  I went to the booth and looked at the system to see if she had both speakers on; she did.  Apparently the person that had set up the system didn’t explain how to use it in various situations.

What was I going to do? Something I have learned throughout the years in singing for an audience was that you always need to be prepared with more songs than you plan on doing.  By now it was twenty minutes before the service and I had to scramble through my songs to see which ones I could do without music or without background singers.  Then in a split second decision the solution came and I knew what to do.

The Windy City

When you enter the sanctuary the first thing that anyone will notice is the large painting behind the pulpit.  It depicts the scene where Jesus is walking on the stormy sea and holds out His hand for the Apostle Peter to grasp. 
Looking at that painting the Holy Spirit dropped something into my spirit. There was a song that I hadn’t thought of singing, but did bring the music for it.  I didn’t practice it like some of the other songs, but did go over it a few times only because I love the message it presents. 
Without hesitation I handed the woman another CD that didn’t need the split track speakers.  The song was titled, “Wherever the Wind Blows.” (God is moving.)

At that time I didn’t know the exact topic that my husband was going to speak on other than James chapter 1 and focus on the first eight verses. 

“My brother, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

The song fit perfectly because it deals with the promise that wherever the wind blows, God is moving and He is present.  If there is even a breeze, God is demonstrating that He is part of it.  When we act in faith and trust Him, God will deliver us to a place of safety.  

No matter what we are experiencing, God knows about it and is present.  He isn’t in another part of the universe tending to something more important than you.  As a child of God, you are foremost on His mind.

The wind was really blowing that morning, so much so that it was a point of conversation. Little did we know how it would play such an important role in the service.

Everyday Storms
There isn’t a day in the life of a believer that you aren’t in some part of a life storm.
The main thing that we are to remember is that whether you are heading into a storm, in the middle of it, or coming out of a storm in your life, God is always there. 
There’s a passage in the Bible that talks about when the disciples were in a boat and they saw something walking in the midst of the sea.  Peter called out and questioned if it was Jesus.  After he recognized that it was actually Jesus walking on the water, he got so excited that he asked for permission to leave the boat and join the Lord in the water. (Or should I say, "ON" the water.) I think many people forget what truly happened here.  Briefly this is what Matthew 14:22-33 (NKJV) states:

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat …but the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  In the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him, they trembled in fear saying, “It’s a ghost!” Right away Jesus spoke and said, “Be of good cheer!  It is I; don’t be afraid.”

There were still doubtful that it really was Jesus, so Peter makes a request that would verify who was out there in the dark.

Peter called to Jesus, “If it’s You, command me to come to You on the water.” So Jesus said, “Come.”  When Peter got out of the boat he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink!  Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” At once Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” and when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.”

Let’s look at what this really means.

Point 1: God will call you into something deeper than you can handle on your own so your faith can be tested.

God is the One who sent the disciples out at night, in the storm, for their faith to be tested. Peter is the only one who took the test.

The moment Peter jumped out of the boat, he left his comfort zone and did something he never thought he could do … walk on water!  He had to get out of where he was and leave that safe place. Peter was able to do that because Someone greater than himself was already out there (on the water).  If God is doing the testing, He will not let you go where He isn’t going to be.

Point 2: Peter didn’t make a move until Jesus spoke to him signaling the OK.  We aren’t to move unless we are sure it’s God speaking in the situation.

Once he knew it was the Lord, Peter didn’t think twice about running to Jesus, and totally trusted that the Lord would stay with him as he ventured out in deep waters. 

Point 3: Wavering is a choice. Don’t look at the storm, focus on Jesus.

Something happened though.  As soon as he saw the wind it caused Peter to look at the storm.  Peter became tossed with the wind and wavered.  How quickly he forgot he was already walking on the water.

When Peter took His focus (eyes) off of Jesus and His destination, he began to sink into the dark sea.  In a panic, Peter called out (I imagine it was more like a shout) to Jesus to rescue him.  He failed the test of faith and had to take it again ( … and again and again).  He received nothing from that experience of walking on the water, because fear overtook faith.

Point 4: Jesus isn’t moved by the storm; the storm is moved by Him.

We often do the same thing that Peter did when the storms of life seem to be taking us under.  The truth of the matter is that Jesus wasn't moved by the storm, but was moved by Peter’s request for help.

God is not waiting for you to go down in defeat, but is waiting to see you through to the other side of the storm.  We know this because the wind didn’t stop until Jesus escorted Peter back to the boat – a safe place.  Jesus won’t let you go through the storm alone, but walks beside you all the way.

Point 5: There is Light in the storm. 

Jesus stood there in the midst of the storm so Peter would let Him be the Light he needed in a dark place.  Not only was the Lord with Peter, He stayed with him and never left.  Peter didn’t notice that God was in the wind in the middle of the storm and moved on the water despite what was going on around Him.  Like Peter, we don’t always remember that storms don’t control the Creator of the wind.  No wonder we miss out on the favor of God so much, when we fail to walk by faith.

Everything else but …
For the evening service we made arrangements to work with other equipment so everything went fine that night. 
In my prayers before I went to bed, I asked God what went wrong.  He said (in my spirit), “You prayed over everything else, but the equipment!  Of course!  Oh, I should have known that!

How could I have forgotten to pray for the equipment?  I’ll tell you how.  During the weeks before, I asked my husband to get out the sound system so we could make sure everything was working correctly.  He told me, “We’re not bringing ours; they just got a new system installed this summer so we’ll be using theirs.”  I didn’t give it another thought, and therefore, I didn’t think to pray over their equipment like I do over ours. 

It made sense to me now, because satan didn’t want me to sing that song or any song for that matter.  He was counting on me giving up and skipping the music altogether when I couldn’t use my CD’s. This was why I was having such an issue with the music.  Focusing on which songs I sang took my eyes temporarily off the message on wavering, but God already knew what would happen. 

Come into the Water with Me

I am so thankful that as I waited to enter the platform area, my seat was situated directly in front of that portrait of Jesus with His hands stretched out.  It was as if God was directing me to come join Him in the deep waters where He would walk through the storm with me.  God wasn’t referring to the CD situation, but the events that would take place throughout life.

Everything tied to the message of faith that was preached that morning … the songs, the prayer, the Message and the wind.  God moved on the hearts throughout the entire service all because the direction changed.

The Storm Behind the Painting

We had never been to this church before and were not aware of the background of the portrait.  After the people were dismissed from the service one lady came up to me and asked if we were staying for the meal.  She knew we had some difficult situations pending and didn’t know if we needed to leave.  I informed her that we would be able to stay for a short time, but that I would like to see the building if that were possible.  It gives me great pleasure being able to view the things that God is doing for His church.

Making our way around the building we came to a little room outside the Pastoral offices.  It was their wall of fame dedicated to those who have done great things for the Lord.  Every person mentioned on that wall had gone on to their eternal home.

The first person to be recognized was the young artist of the portrait in the sanctuary.  Shortly after she finished the work this woman was struck down in a car accident on her way home from church.  I couldn’t help but see how God has favored her by continuing to honor the work of her hands.  Her ministry for the Lord through art is still going on, even though she isn’t here to see it.  The message of hope in Jesus remains, as He stretches out His hand to anyone who will take it.

There’s Favor on the Water

Over 2,000 years ago Peter found favor on the water when he reached out to Jesus.  The storm wasn’t a problem for the Lord then and it isn’t now. 
There are always going to be storms as long as we live on this earth, but be assured, Jesus is there.

Let me remind you that Peter walked on the stormy water too, even when his focus was blurred. He did it with Jesus.  The Bible doesn't say Jesus carried Peter back to the boat.
Peter is the only person to have ever done that, but he isn’t the only one that can do it. By faith all things are possible, however the impossible won’t happen if we don’t step out of the comfort "boat" zone as Peter did. 

You may be like me and overlook some things in your prayers at times, but don’t let that stop you from going where God wants to take you. Instead, give God praise because He is in the middle of our prayers and already has the answer worked out before we know there is problem. 
Jesus knew Peter's faith was being tested, and was in the water before Peter.

Will you do me a favor this week?  In prayer give thanks for the times when God has gone ahead of you so that His favor can be demonstrated in your life.  Thank Him for calling you into the deeper things in life so that your faith can be proved.
Finally, be mindful of the wind; know that God is in it and moving loving favor in your direction.  Never let go of God’s hand … He will take you back to the boat.

"Where there’s a breeze, hope is alive.  On wings of love He will arrive … wherever the wind blows!"
Praise You in this Storm  Casting Crowns

Until next time, wherever the wind blows,
God’s favor is there!


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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by
Gateway Bible


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